[NIGERIA] Impeachment: Embattled Lower House Leader Tambuwal Takes Case To Divine Court

The embattled Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, on Saturday declared that his fate as the speaker was in the hands of God. He said the ruling Party could not remove him as Speaker.

He stated that only God and his colleagues in the House could remove him from office as leader of the Chamber of the National Assembly.

Tambuwal said this at the meeting of the North-West Zonal Executive Committee of the Congress held in Kaduna, where he had a closed-door meeting with a former Head of State and presidential aspirant, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.); Deputy Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje; APC National Vice Chairman (North-West), Inuwa Abdulkadir, among others.

The Speaker attended the meeting without his security details.

While addressing journalists after the meeting, Tambuwal insisted that the majority of his colleagues were behind him, adding that Nigerians should discard contrary information being circulated around.

On his defection case before the Court in Abuja, Tambuwal said his counsel, Lateef Fagebemi (SAN), explained that the status quo ordered by a court to be maintained referred to the period before his security details were withdrawn.

Tambuwal said, “I am here for the first time to attend the zonal meeting of the North-West of APC, my political party.

“As for my fate in the Assembly and Speaker of the House of Representative, it is in the hands of× God and members of the House.”

Buhari, however, described Tambuwal’s defection from the PDP to the APC as a good omen to the party and the country.

The Speaker had officially announced his defection on October 28 during a plenary on the floor of the House.

Buhari said with free and fair election, the APC would triumph in the 2015 general elections.

Tambuwal, after the meeting, flew to State to attend another event organised by a member of the House, Mr. Bimbo Daramola.

Meanwhile, the APC also criticised the refusal of the Government to reinstate Tambuwal’s security details.

The Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, had ordered the redeployment of policemen attached to Tambuwal less than two days after his defection, citing Section 68 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which suggests that he is no more the Speaker.

However, an Abuja court had ordered that “the status quo be maintained.”

Speaking to SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Lai Mohammed, said, “Once again, the PDP-led Federal Government has exhibited its characteristic impunity and disrespect for the rule of law.

“Tambuwal went to court to seek some reliefs, part of which is for the restoration of his security details. Why the judge did not grant his reliefs at first was for the other party in the case to come to court and tell the judge why the reliefs should not be granted.

“The status quo ante means that Tambuwal should have his security restored because in the eyes of the law he is still the Speaker. Instead of doing this, government went to court to challenge its jurisdiction.

“But the PDP, without shame, has come out to say the status quo means ‘as at the time of the removal of his security.’ There is absolutely no reason why Tambuwal’s security should not be restored. This impunity must stop.”

Also, the APC Caucus at the House of Representatives said on Saturday that the legal team of the Speaker was still working on the interpretation of the Friday court ruling on the suit Tambuwal filed to challenge the withdrawal of his security personnel.

The Minority Leader of the House and leader of the caucus, Femi Gbajabiamila, warned that any attempt to attack Tambuwal at this period would have “a dire consequence on the country.”

Gbajabiamila said while the Speaker was not bothered by the withdrawal of his security details, he deserved to be protected based on the office he occupies.

He said, “We have taken it upon ourselves to arrange security for him. He is much secured, apart from being secured by God. Everywhere he goes, he has people around him, including members of the House who fortify his surroundings.

“I think it is a better security than that of the Federal Government itself because we cannot afford and we will not afford to allow anything to happen to the Speaker, because we know the consequences of that.”

He however declined to give further details on the security measures put in place for Tambuwal.

Gbajabiamila also denied knowledge of further withdrawal of operatives of the Department of State Security and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps. He described the situation as shameful, if it was true.

The majority leader said, “We are aware of a court order that the status quo be maintained. In other words, do not do anything until the case had been heard and judgement delivered. What we know is that the Federal Government will continue with its incessant disobedience to the rule of law but there will always be consequences for that.

Similarly, another member of the caucus and governorship aspirant in Lagos State, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, stated that no attempt to sack Tambuwal would be allowed to succeed in the House.

She also said the withdrawal of Tambuwal’s security details had not affected him, as the majority of the people loved him and would ensure his safety.

Dabiri-Erewa said, “He is a popular Speaker and I do not see how he can be impeached on the floor of that House.”

The Speaker’s Office also avoided taking an official position on what Tambuwal considered to be the position of the court.

His Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Imam Imam, simply said the matter was in court and it remained so.

But, findings showed that behind the scenes, the Speaker’s camp held the view that the security details ought to have been restored.

One senior legislator argued, “The court said status quo should be maintained. What does that tell you? The speaker’s legal team argued this out in detail in court.

“From our standpoint, the security personnel should be restored.”

Source: The Punch
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